Do you need protein supplements to get ripped?

26 November 2015

Many people spend hours in the gym every week and fill up on protein supplements in the quest for a ripped physique, but could all that hard work and money spent on sweet tasting powder be in vain?
According to a University of Queensland physiology and nutrition expert, expensive supplements may be nothing more than a waste of money.

UQ Health Sciences
Do you need protein supplements to get ripped? (Photo credit: UQ)

UQ School of Human Movement and Nutrition Sciences researcher Dr David Jenkins argues that more protein doesn’t necessarily mean more muscle.
“Because muscles are made of protein, there’s a misconception that if you eat more protein you get more muscle,” Dr Jenkins said.
“In principle this is true, but there are two considerations that override this.
“Provided you eat a healthy and balanced diet, you consume far more protein than you actually need.
“Any extra protein we consume is probably not going to have any additional effect.”
Dr Jenkins said timing meals around workouts was important for muscle growth.
“Having 20 grams of high-quality protein that includes leucine and the other essential amino acids immediately before or after exercise will promote muscle growth and repair.”
He said whey protein, marketed as being the best work out supplement, tended to have higher amount of leucine and the other essential amino acids.
“However there is no long-term evidence that expensive supplements from the shop are any better than just drinking flavoured milk,” Dr Jenkins said.
“Provided a food source has the essential amino acids and the timing of intake is carefully considered, this will provide the right environment for muscle growth.”

About the UQ School of Human Movement and Nutrition Sciences

The UQ School of Human Movement and Nutrition Sciences offers a range of high-quality undergraduate, postgraduate and research programs in the interdisciplinary areas of human movement and nutrition, which includes, but is not limited to, clinical exercise physiology, exercise science, health sport and physical education, dietetics and coaching.
The school provides world-leading staff and state-of-the-art facilities which provide students with a world-class education.
The university takes an interdisciplinary approach to research, which is critical to allow effective translation of research outcomes for policy and practice.
The school’s research is diverse and focuses on addressing multi-dimensional questions related to how and why humans move and obtain nutrition. Areas of focus include critical to health and disease prevention across the lifespan including exercise, physical activity and health, dietetics and nutrition, sensorimotor neuroscience, sport, physical and health education.

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Would you like more information about health science programs at the University of Queensland? Contact OzTREKK Australian Health Sciences Admissions Officer Rachel Brady at